A Jimmy Hoffa tip that could actually reach paydirt? An 85-year-old ex-gangster may have the answer to the unsolved Jimmy Hoffa mystery.
Tony Zerilli, who federal agents said has played a key role in the case but has refused answering questions for decades till now, has a key Jimmy Hoffa tip. He says the union leader was buried in a field in suburban Detroit–about 20 miles north of the restaurant where he was last seen.
“I’m dead broke. I got no money,” Zerilli told NBC 4 New York. “My quality of life is zero.”
It’s not a statement fit for a man who officials say was once a high-ranking member of the Detroit La Cosa Nostra family. “He actually had risen up at one point to the underboss – or second in command,” Andy Arena, former head of the FBI for New York and Detroit, said of Zerilli.
The mystery has gone unsolved because of Detroit’s tight-knit mafia family relations. NBC News reports that in July 1975, Hoffa told people he was going to meet two men at a restaurant in suburban Detroit. One was a suspected member of the Detroit mafia. The other was a Teamster boss from New Jersey. Hoffa, who’d been investigated for dealings with the mafia, was seen at the restaurant–and then never again.
While feds have speculated that the disappearance involved a select group of people in highly organized crime, Zerilli’s Jimmy Hoffa tip is the first from that group. “What happened to Hoffa had nothing to do with me in any way, shape or form,” Zerilli said, who was locked up at one point. “If I wasn’t away I don’t think it ever would’ve happened, that’s all I can tell you. I would’ve done anything in the world to protect Jim Hoffa.”
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